How to beat Blue Monday at workHays: Working For Your Tomorrowon January 10, 2024 at 9:47 am Career advice | Career tips


There’s no denying that whilst January can bring with it optimism, the start of a new calendar year is also difficult, especially at work. The festive fun is over and the hard work returns. “We can pick it up in January” is now a reality. That problem for future me, is now a problem for the present day. All of this contributes to Blue Monday, a term used to describe the most depressing day of the calendar year.

At Hays, we ran a poll on LinkedIn to gauge the feelings of our followers. Responses showed that many are feeling the pressure, with 44% of the 6,476 respondents saying they were “tired.”

But what can you do to beat Blue Monday at work, and make a positive start to the year?

What is Blue Monday?

According to a calculation, Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year. Although primarily relating to people in the Northern Hemisphere as it considers the weather, the calculation also takes into account:

Debt levelTime since ChristmasTime since New Years’ resolutions were brokenLow motivational levels The feeling for the need for action.

When is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday is the third Monday in January. Blue Monday will fall on January 15, 2024.

How to beat Blue Monday at work

Here are some quick tips to staying motivated during January.

Establish clear work-life boundaries

Working yourself into the ground is not going to help you physically, or mentally. Set work-life boundaries where you take a break at lunch and get to unwind from the pressure of work. Time away from your desk at home or in the office can increase productivity and motivation when you return. Whilst there will always be days when we have to put in an extra hour or two to get a project over the line, working late into the night and starting early in the morning could lead to burnout. Establish those boundaries to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Don’t benchmark yourself against others

Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea, especially at work. Let’s be honest, if you ask a colleague how their day is going, they’ll likely say “busy.” They may mention the back-to-back meetings they’ve just come out of. This can end up with you thinking you should be as busy as they are, creating moments of anxiousness and worry. This can potentially lead to imposter syndrome. Don’t do it. Concentrate on yourself, make a list of priorities for the day and week ahead, and focus on them.

Attend in-person events in your office

At Hays, we host in-person events in some of our offices, that help support employee wellbeing. In the UK, our team hosted a breakfast around World Mental Heath Day, giving employees the opportunity to connect with their colleagues away from their screens. As well as increasing collaboration and giving a bit of time away from the screen, this also gives you something to look forward to.

Your workplace may not offer such initiatives. You could speak to your manager to see if it’s something that can be created.


Exercise can play a crucial role in improving our mood, as well as our physicality. As Rosalyn Palmer, a therapist and motivational coach said: “Our bodies were designed to move, and we now do not move enough. Make sure that you are moving each hour by stretching or walking around and add some exercise into your routine every day.”

This ties into earlier advice of creating strong work-life boundaries. Going for a walk in your lunchbreak has multiple benefits and will help you beat away negative thoughts on Blue Monday.

You’ll be in good company too. A radio show on the BBC spoke about celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Ellie Goulding using exercise to improve their mental health. Host, Dr Radha said: “Exercise is fantastic for keeping well both physically and mentally. Endorphins are released when you exercise and these chemicals help reduce feelings of stress and help you feel more relaxed.

“Exercise also helps you get better sleep which is essential to your mental wellbeing and can improve your self-esteem, confidence and feelings of resilience when life gets challenging.”

Talk to your manager and colleagues

Ultimately, your manager is there to support you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the start of the year, or indeed at any time of the year, speak to your manager and see if there is a way to lighten the load.

Your manager should be approachable and take your concerns on board. If they are not, they will eventually find it hard to succeed in the world of work themselves, as we know that empathy and emotional intelligence are crucial soft skills for leaders to have.

How to beat Blue Monday at work, the most depressing day

There’s no denying that many of us struggle to balance the demands January brings. However, taking the time to look after ourselves, relieve some of the pressure and talk to those around us, can really help in combatting Blue Monday in the workplace.

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